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Interview: David Thornton (Terrifier) – Art the Clown

First off, thank you for taking time to do this interview for Horrornews.net. Please tell us how you prepared to play Art the Clown?

David- No problem at all! It is my pleasure! Well, I’ve essentially been preparing for this role my entire life since I have been studying both the great physical comedians from cinematic history (Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Peter Sellers, Jim Carrey, Rowan Atkinson, and my dear friend Stefan Karl) as well as the classic horror films for the vast majority of my life. That made jumping into this role much easier since clowning is something I know quite well and have much experience in. I also watched “All Hallow’s Eve” so I could capture the essence of Art that Mike Giannelli originated when he first donned the tiny hat. His performance gave me a lot to work with and build from!

How did Damien and the cast react when they saw you as Art?

David- LOL! Everyone pretty much freaked out when they first met me on set since I was already in makeup. They freaked out even more when they saw me for the first time without it on since they had gotten so used to seeing me with it on and had come to know me that way. There were some that never saw me in my normal state until our premiere last year at Lincoln Center. They thought I looked better as the clown. I agree. Oddly enough, it seems like some people are actually attracted to him. I wish I had known that back in my younger days! LOL!

Why do you think there is such a fear for some people with clowns? You played the part so good and I think if I randomly saw you as Art the Clown, I would haul ass!!!!!

David- I think it is because there is something slightly inhuman about them that makes them so scary to some. I imagine that it has to do with the over the top costumes and make up mixed with the exaggerated body and facial movements and expressions that cross into the uncanny valley that do the trick. Oddly enough, I have never found clowns to be scary at all. But that is just me. Good thing too, or I would have had to wear diapers on set in case I passed any reflective objects! It all “Depends” on the person… *sad trombone*

What was it like for you working with Damien and the cast?

David- Absolutely fantastic. Everyone, especially my female costars, was wonderful to work with. I have all of the respect in the world for those ladies and all that they went through on set. They are true professionals, every one of them that never complained and were dedicated 100% to making this film as great as possible. As for Damien, words can’t express how much I enjoyed working with this amazingly talented man. I consider him to be one of my best friends now. We definitely bonded during our 100+ hours together in the makeup chair. The man is talented in ways that I have never seen. Not only did he direct the film, he wrote it, and did all of the practical effects that you see. You don’t often come across directors that can do close to what Damien did with this film. He’s one of a kind and truly deserves all of the accolades and success that I am sure are coming his way!

Did you face any challenges in the film?

David- Personally, not really, outside of the occasional issues with makeup (especially those darn contacts!). I have all the respect in the world in other actors like Robert Englund, Ron Perlman, and Doug Jones that have endured hours upon hours of make up for their roles. That can be a grueling process, but worth it in the end since you simply can’t beat well done practical effects over CGI. The film itself faced a few unexpected challenges that would take forever to go into and that I don’t have all of the full details on. I would often tell Damien not worry about the minor setbacks that we had since so many other classic horror films had even worse setbacks than ours (“Twilight Zone: The Movie” and “The Exorcist”). I said that these setbacks only meant that we were on the right track to creating a classic! Those go with the territory with low budget films though where you don’t have millions upon millions of dollars coming your way to ease things. I’m constantly amazed with what we accomplished on the budget that we had. It is a fine example of the talent that Damien and his crew have.

If there would be a sequel, would you be involved in any way at all?

David- Definitely so! There is so much more that I want to do with the character and explore! Damien and I are constantly spit-balling ideas back and forth about what to do in future films. I especially have a fun kill in mind that is inspired by a classic Marx Brothers routine.

Could you tell us what you are working on next?

David- Right now, I am working on a few animated series that I can’t discuss at the moment as well as finishing up filming the final season of the web series “Nightwing: Escalation” that I play another killer clown on… The Joker! Other than that, I am simply auditioning for other projects that come my way and am patiently waiting for Andres Muschietti to give me a call about playing the adult version of Richie Tozier in the “It” sequel. How fun would that be to have the guy that plays Art the Clown go up against Pennywise? *wink wink, nudge nudge*.

What do you want to say to the fans and audiences that will be watching TERRIFIER?

David- A profound and humble thank you. This film truly would not have happened if it were not for the fans loving this character so much and demanding a movie to be made about him. We made this for you guys and I truly hope that each of you enjoys what we have created and hope that you all will continue to support us on this journey since we still have much more to tell about Art in future films. As long as you want more Art, we will keep giving him to you! Thanks ever so much! You all friggin’ rock!

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